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University of Illinois at Chicago Cogeneration Study and Design

The University of Illinois at Chicago (University) wanted to explore cogeneration options for its West Side Campus.  At the time of the project, seven natural gas and No. 6 oil-fired boilers provided steam to a variety of medical facilities that were a part of the University, and to other medical facilities in the area.  A cogeneration feasibility study was completed to investigate options to provide both steam and electricity to all of the facilities.  A variety of options were examined and evaluated.

The University decided to proceed with the design for a 35 MW system consisting of both gas turbines and reciprocating engines.  The gas turbines were base loaded with heat recovery while the reciprocating engines provided peaking power only. The facility included three gas turbines each with a nominal capacity of 7.0 MW and three reciprocating Wartsila natural gas fired engines with a nominal capacity of 5 MW.  Four of the current boilers were retired in-place.  Each gas turbine was mated to a heat recovery steam generator producing 120,000 lbs/hr of 200 psig, 400°F steam.  This new steaming capacity approximately matched the steaming capacity being retired.

New support equipment included condensate tanks, deaerators, cooling towers for over 4,000 tons of refrigeration, and new boiler feed pumps.  The building provided to house the new equipment was an extension of the current boiler house and included a new control and lunchrooms, as well as offices and change areas with showers.  Repairs to the existing building were also included in the design.

The controls for the facility included load controls for all new generation equipment at the West Campus, as well as four reciprocating engines with 20 MW of generation capacity at East Campus, separated by approximately one mile from the West Side Campus.  The load control equipment allowed the University to either buy or sell power or be in a power neutral position.  Automatic load shedding was also included in the control philosophy.

Resident Site Representative services were also provided during the construction phase.  This effort included a full-time resident to monitor and coordinate the construction process.

A Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment was performed to evaluate site conditions.  Environmental concerns included fuel storage tanks and cinder fill.